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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Jul 5;1683(1-3):89-100.

Human ATP-binding cassette transporter-2 (ABCA2) positively regulates low-density lipoprotein receptor expression and negatively regulates cholesterol esterification in Chinese hamster ovary cells.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA.


We present evidence that the ATP binding-cassette transporter-2 (ABCA2) is a sterol-responsive gene that has a role in the trafficking of low-density lipoprotein-derived free cholesterol (LDL-FC). In HepG2 cells ABCA2 was coordinately expressed with other sterol-responsive genes. Stable constitutive expression of ABCA2 in Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHOA2) was accompanied by an increase the expression of the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) and other genes involved in the regulation of cholesterol homeostasis. LDLR mRNA was elevated greater than ninefold and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA synthase (HMGCoA S) expression was elevated sevenfold in CHOA2 cells. The increase in LDLR expression was regulated at the level of transcription; however, culture of CHO and CHOA2 cells in medium containing lipoprotein-deficient serum (LPDS) results in similar levels of LDLR promoter expression. No differences were measured in the dose-dependent uptake of fluorescently labeled 1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchorate-LDL (DiI-LDL) between CHO and CHOA2 cells cultured in medium containing LPDS. Ultraviolet microscopy revealed a similar distribution of the DiI-LDL label in cytoplasmic vesicles. We measured an LDL dose-dependent reduction in esterification of LDL-FC in intact CHOA2 cells cultured in medium containing LPDS, however, no significant difference was measured in acylcoenzyme A:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) activity in cell-free extracts of CHO and CHOA2 cells. CHO cells or CHOA2 cells treated with the hydrophobic amine, U18666A, showed similar filipin staining of unesterified cholesterol in cytoplasmic vesicles. Addition of progesterone or U18666A to CHO cells elevated ABCA2 expression. Finally, we found that ABCA2 expression was elevated in Niemann-Pick type C1 (NPC1) fibroblasts and in Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FHC) fibroblasts.

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